Peacock

Geoffrey Hill is dead, and still, now, as I read his words,
his voice keeps crossing over. And a woman at a nearby

table says to her companion, I am so many people these days—
mother, child, whore—I feel exhausted. And as she laughs,

her unlit cigarette keeps making little circles, and the other
woman listens. I want to say, I know the feeling, when I know

I cannot. I want to break through unspoken boundaries.
I cannot write of Nobody, says Hill. No one to narrate this.

But then his writing, with all its ferocity and plumage, turns
from an image of the self as a peacock to praise the bird’s

bare corrosive scream. I cannot speak for no one. I try.
Some laughter belies the cutlery inside it. But what I see

in the author’s portrait is his namesake, a rock, withholding
and thereby held. What I hear is a woman and her broken

English, the many selves lonely for the one who talks of them.
Her companion says, yes. The unlit cigarette rises and falls.

And as I bow my head, I read a little deeper. Names live alone
their separate lives, says Hill. Yes, I say. And softer still, yes, yes.

Bruce Bond

Bruce Bond

Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-three books including, most recently, Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand (U of MI, 2015), Black Anthem (Tampa Review Prize, U of Tampa, 2016), Gold Bee (Helen C. Smith Award, Crab Orchard Award, Southern Illinois University Press, 2016), Sacrum (Four Way Books, 2017), Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (L.E. Phillabaum Award, LSU, 2017), Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (Elixir Book Prize, Elixir Press, 2018), Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, 2018), and Frankenstein’s Children (Lost Horse).Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at University of North Texas.
Bruce Bond

Latest posts by Bruce Bond (see all)

Author: Bruce Bond

Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-three books including, most recently, Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand (U of MI, 2015), Black Anthem (Tampa Review Prize, U of Tampa, 2016), Gold Bee (Helen C. Smith Award, Crab Orchard Award, Southern Illinois University Press, 2016), Sacrum (Four Way Books, 2017), Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (L.E. Phillabaum Award, LSU, 2017), Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (Elixir Book Prize, Elixir Press, 2018), Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, 2018), and Frankenstein’s Children (Lost Horse). Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at University of North Texas.